Education

EL CAJON PUBLIC HEARING FOR NEW GROSSMONT ELECTION SYSTEM HAS SPEAKERS MOSTLY IN FAVOR

 

By Janis Russell

April 7, 2016 (El Cajon) - At the El Cajon public hearing held March 28, many speakers expressed their support for the new election system for the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD).  The hearing was the second in a series of six public meetings convened by the County Office of Education Committee on School District Organization regarding Grossmont’s plan to shift to five trustee districts elected by voters within each district, instead of at-large elections voted upon by all voters district-wide.

"UNDERWATER DREAMS" DOCUMENTARY SCREENING, SPEAKER PANEL ON TAP FOR APRIL 12

 

Source: Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

April 1, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Grossmont College is hosting a free screening of “Underwater Dreams,” an inspirational documentary about the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants who built an underwater robot as Arizona high school students in 2004 and defeated engineering powerhouse MIT in an international competition.

NEW HEARING ON GROSSMONT REDISTRICTING ADDED IN LEMON GROVE APRIL 6

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2016 (Lemon Grove) –The Lemon Grove/Spring Valley area would have its own district to elect a trustee to the Grossmont Union High School District’s board under a plan that the GUHSD approved, but  that must next be approved or rejected by the County Office of Education’s Committee on School District Organization.

The County committee previously announced five hearings on the redistricting plan. Now, the committee announces a sixth hearing to be held on Wednesday, April 6 from 6-8 p.m. at the Lemon Grove Library community room, 3001 School Lane in Lemon Grove. (Map)

Other upcoming hearings will be held in Lakeside, Alpine and Jamul. For a full list of all hearings and rules for public comment, click here.   

To view data on the GUHSD redistricting plan including demographic details and maps, click here.

READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA VOTING RIGHTS ACT (CVRA)

 

By Jim Stieringer, Member, Governing Board, Grossmont Union High School District

March 31, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)--Like my board colleagues I enthusiastically endorse the concept of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and our unanimous vote to implement it in the Grossmont Union High School District.

I recall that our board members’ decision to implement “area” election precincts was engendered solely by a desire to implement CVRA and to obviate a threatened lawsuit if we failed to do so. I believe that no one was motivated by a desire to deny a colleague an opportunity to compete in the 2016 election. Further I am unaware of any direction to our demographers other than to create a minority district that gave consideration to all communities of interest. Each of the three proposed maps accomplished those goals.

SDSU MUSIC GROUPS “DOWNTOWN” CONCERT APRIL 15 BENEFITS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR MUSIC EDUCATION IN K-12 SCHOOLS COUNTYWIDE

 

East County News Service

March 30, 2016 (San Diego) -- On April 15, 2016 at 7:30 PM, San Diego State's top orchestral and premier wind ensembles join forces with the 120-voice chamber and concert choirs on the stage at the Jacobs Music Center at Copley Symphony Hall to present a mega-concert experience. Downtown features more than 250 musicians performing works by Wagner, Vaughan Williams, and Beethoven from the School of Music and Dance, this is a program that Jim Chute of UT San Diego called a "powerhouse."

COUNTY CALLS FOR MORE INPUT ON GROSSMONT REDISTRICTING PLAN

 

Next meetings set for March 28, April 4, 5, and 11

By Leon Thompson

March 27, 2016 (La Mesa) – Turnout was light at the first of five county hearings March 17th on a controversial redistricting plan proposed by the Grossmont Union High School District.  Members of the San Diego County Office of Education ‘s Committee on School Reorganization emphasized that they hope to see more public turnout and hear from a broad cross-section of the community at the upcoming four hearings.

GUHSD TRUSTEE JIM KELLY SLANDERS MEDIA, DODGES INTERVIEW REQUESTS

 

East County News Service

March 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District Trustee Jim Kelly abused his authority as a public official, making false and slanderous statements during a public hearing March 17th held by the County Office of Education’s Committee on School District Organization regarding the GUHSD’s controversial redistricting plan.

In the meeting, Kelly complained of “patent misinformation” and then proceeded to make bald-faced lies slandering East County Magazine and the integrity of our editor, Miriam Raftery. 

Below, we set the record straight--and provide our readers proof that the only person being dishonest here is Kelly.

READERS EDITORIAL: STOP GROSSMONT'S GERRYMANDERING! SPEAK OUT AT COUNTY’S ALPINE FORUM APRIL 4

 

 

By George Barnett

March 19, 2016 (Alpine) – Grossmont Union High School District Trustees are in the process of gerrymandering its voter district. Grossmont intends to move from a process of electing trustees on an “at large” basis to a re-districting to a by-trustee basis.  This means that individual communities such as that across Alpine, Blossom Valley, Harbison Canyon – for example – could elect their own chosen representative on the Grossmont board.  Grossmont is being forced into re-districting by threat of separate law suits. 

Fundamentally, it is a sound idea.  However, Grossmont also decided to do this without voter input or approval.  The scheme of re-districting that Grossmont has selected is gerrymandering and results in:

COUNTY SETS HEARINGS ON REDISTRICTING PROPOSED BY GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

 



By Miriam Raftery

Updated March 31 with new info from the County Office of Education.

March 15, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The County Committee on School District Organization will hold six hearings to get public input on the Grossmont Union High School District’s proposed shift to electing governing board trustees by districts.  The GUHSD board voted 4-1 to adopt a controversial map and seek a waiver of a public vote despite opposition from members of the public who spoke, some alleging gerrymandering to oust a dissenting board member and break up a vocal minority voting block, as ECM reported.

The six hearings are set for March 17 in La Mesa, March 28 in El Cajon,  April 4 in Alpine,  April 5 in Jamul, April 6 in Lemon Grove, and April 11 in Lakeside.  The public can testify at the meetings and also submit written comments up until April 7.  The County’s committee will vote to approve or disapprove the district’s request at its April 13 meeting. The Alpine hearing was added after ECM and community members asked that Alpine be added as a location due to the many controversies involving the Alpine area.

For the full schedule of meetings, rules and details, click "read more" and scroll down.

To view the San Diego County Office of Education hearings announcement in English, Spanish and Arabic, click here.

To view data on the GUHSD redistricting plan including demographic details and maps, click here.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH ACCLAIMED GOSPEL CHOIR DIRECTOR KENNETH ANDERSON

 

 

March 19, 2016 (San Diego) – East County Magazine intern Tasha Matthews interviewed Rev. Kenneth Anderson, director of three prominent gospel choirs at the University of California San Diego, Grossmont College and the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir. He’s led choral tours and performances across Europe including at the Vatican. His gospel choir class at UCSD is consistently the most popular course on campus.  He’s also the fifth highest rated university professor in the nation, according to Rate My Professor.

Audio: 

HEAR OUR RADIO INTERVIEWS: OPPONENTS OF GUHSD REDISTRICTING PLANS SPEAK OUT

 

East County News Service

March 16, 2016 (San Diego's East County) --  The Grossmont Union High School District Board majority's proposed redistricting plan is among the most controversial actions taken by a board long mired in contention over a variety of issues -- many of which stand to be influenced by the outcome of redistricting.  East County Magazine's radio show on KNSJ sat down with several individuals who have voiced strong opposition to the plan approved by the board and now awaiting action by the County Department of Education's Committee on School District Organization.

Click the link above this story to listen online now to a podcast of  our interviews and comments from trustee Priscilla Schreiber, Diego Valley Charter Net principal Craig Beswick, former Citizens Bond Oversight Committee member Nick Marinovich, and Chaldean Chamber President Ben Kalasho on this important issue (originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio).

The County's committee plans five upcoming hearings to get public comment on the proposed redistricting plan, as well as the GUHSD's request to waive a public vote. The five hearings are set for March 17 in La Mesa, March 28 in El Cajon,  April 4 in Alpine,  April 5 in Jamul, and April 11 in Lakeside.  The public can testify at the meetings and also submit written comments up until April 7. 

Audio: 

ALPINE HEARING ADDED ON GUHSD REDISTRICTING: APRIL 4

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – In response to an East County Magazine inquiry asking why Alpine was excluded from a list of upcoming hearings on the proposed Grossmont Union High School District's controversial redistricting plans, The County Committee on School District Organization has announced it will hold an additional hearing in Alpine on April 4 at 6 p.m. at Joan McQueen Middle School.

The County had previously scheduled four hearings in other locations,  to get public input on the Grossmont Union High School District’s proposed shift to electing governing board trustees by districts. 

For Alpine, the stakes are high. Alpine stands to lose its only advocate for an Alpine High School, Priscilla Schreiber, who would lose her seat under the plan approved by the GUHSD.  Alpine would be represented by Jim Kelly, a vocal opponent of the Alpine High School, an issue currently in litigation that has also led to unification efforts in which Alpine parents are seeking to break away from the GUHSD.

For the full schedule of meetings slated across East County set by the County Office of Education, rules and details, click "read more" and scroll down.

ANDERSON URGES NON-PROFIT TO ADDRESS PLAN TO PROTECT STUDENTS' INFORMATION

 

East County News Service

 

March 10, 2016 (El Cajon) -- As a result of the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association (MHCP) vs. California Department of Education case, Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) sent a letter (full text below) to MHCPA, urging them to take precautions in protecting former and current student’s data and identity: Parents and former students over the age of 18 can object to the court’s ruling before April 1, 2016. More information can be found on the California Department of Education’s website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/ws/morganhillcase.asp.

ALPINE SCHOOL DISTRICT TURNS DOWN OFFER FOR INDEPENDENT TESTING OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2016 (Alpine) – The Alpine Union High School District(AUSD)  has turned down an offer by the Alpine Education Foundation to conduct independent testing of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) at the Alpine Elementary School campus, citing legal concerns. 

But Superintendent Bruce Cochrane suggests the door is open to a compromise to get the readings done.  “IF AEF were open to donating the necessary funds to the AUSD, the district would be open to contracting out to the firm they have recommended to do testing at AES,” the Superintendent told ECM.

REVISED SCHEDULE FOR PARENT AND COMMUNITY MEETINGS ON ALPINE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH

 

East County News Service

March 9, 2016 (Alpine) –  The Governing Board of the Alpine Union School District has selected McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C Executive Recruitment & Development to assist the Board in its search for a new Superintendent. Executive Director Anita Johnson is working with the Board on the search process. The Board wishes to extend an invitation to all parents and members of the community to meet with Ms. Anita Johnson to help identify the specific traits, skills, abilities, and experience desired in the new Superintendent. The meeting will be held on:

CPUC CHAIR AGREES TO REVIEW ALPINE EMFs, BUT JACOB SAYS AGENCY RESPONSE FALLS SHORT

 

East County News Service

March 4, 2016 (Alpine) – California Public Utilities Chairman Michael Picker has sent a response to Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s letter, in which Jacob asked for an independent state review of electromagnetic field levels in the Alpine area near the underground Sunrise Powerlink.  But Jacob contends, “The agency’s initial response falls far short of what must be done.” 

COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION RELEASES EMF SURVEY RESULTS FOR ALPINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

 

Viejas announces funding for EMF measurements at school

By Miriam Raftery

February 29, 2016 (Alpine) -- The San Diego County Office of Education on Friday released a draft Survey and Exposure Assessment  or electrmagnetic fields (EMF) for Alpine Elementary School.  The study concludes that  the Sunrise Powerlink transmisison line buried on Alpine Blvd.does not pose a significant safety or health risk to the school site." The study further finds that readings in and around buildings at Alpine Elementary "while not representative of a pristine EMF environment, were within a normal range of exposures one could expect in a society with electric power."

The County study examines 94 measurements taken inside and outside the school and  cites several reasons for concluding the site is safe.

SENATOR ANDERSON CALLS ON STATE AGENCIES TO PROVIDE ANSWERS ON ALPINE EMFS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Correction:  A prior article in ECM stated that Senator Anderson supported construction of Sunrise Powerlink. His office indicates he took no position on the project. We regret our error.

February 29, 2016 (Alpine) – “Keeping constituents safe is my top priority,” Senator Joel Anderson states  in a letter today to Supervisor Dianne Jacob.  “I want to make sure all available and appropriate state resources are deployed so that my constituents are provided answers to their questions about the electric and magnetic field (EMF) levels in our community.”

Senator Anderson’s letter indicates he has contacted three state agencies regarding the EMF concerns, including the California Department of Health (CDPH), which advised him that they will review measurements taken by local governments to see how they compare with other schools that were surveyed by the CDPH in a previous study.  

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT BOARD VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Priscilla Schreiber (photo, left) will be forced off board

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and switch to electing trustees from each of five districts. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting. (View map at bottom of this article)

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Photo: Priscilla Schreiber will be forced off the board in November if the county approves the GUHSD's redistricting proposal.

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and break up the district into five areas that will each elect its own trustee. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting.

GROSSMONT DISTRICT ADMITS IT PAID PR FIRM WITH SCHOOL BOND MONEY

 

East County’s largest school district inappropriately used at least $27,000 in bond money to pay a public relations firm to combat what it called a “barrage of misinformation” on its Alpine legal fight.  

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a San Diego Online News Association member.

Photo: Scott Patterson (inset) is deputy superintendent of business for the Grossmont Union High School District.

View video: https://youtu.be/uGyrxCXcGO0

By Ken Stone

February 25, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Documents obtained through a Public Records Act request and official statements confirm that Proposition U bond funds for Grossmont Union High School District projects were used to pay Apex Strategies, led by prominent local PR agent Tony Manolatos.

CHALDEAN CHAMBER PRESIDENT THREATENS LAWSUIT IF “GERRYMANDERING” SPLITS CHALDEAN VOTERS IN GUHSD

 

 

District board expected to vote on redistricting plan today at 4 p.m.

"...Our Chamber will not accept any gerrymandering or divisive planning for political purposes and would be readily committed to engage either legally or politically to ensure a fair and equitable approach for the betterment of our community.” -- Ben Kalasho, Chaldean American Chamber president

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Ben Kalasho, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce in East County, has issued a press release calling on the Grossmont Union-High School District board to be “transparent and pragmatic” in its decision on how to transition from at-large to district elections. A vote on which map to approve is expected at today’s GUHSD board meeting at 4 p.m. at the East County Regional Education Center, 924 East Main St. in El Cajon.

IS IT GERRYMANDERING? FINAL VOTE THURS. ON GROSSMONT REDISTRICTING: ALPINE AND CHALDEAN ADVOCATES OBJECT, ASK PUBLIC HELP

 

By  Miriam Raftery

February 23, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)—Grosssmont-Union High School District’s board is expected to cast a final vote Thursday at 4 p.m. on controversial redistricting maps. The board will also vote to seek a waiver from the state from a requirement that would ordinarily requiring putting the redistricting measure on the ballot, and waiver from a state requiring that new trustee area plans be in effect at least 120 days before the next election in November.  (View meeting notice. The meeting will be at the East County Regional Education Center, 924 East Main Street, El Cajon.)

The district contends it has acted appropriately in response to a threat of legal action over alleged voting rights violations. But critics say the plan would oust the board’s most outspoken dissenting member, Priscilla Schreiber, leave Alpine represented by an opponent of the Alpine High School, and divide Iraqi-Chaldean residents into multiple districts, diluting their power as a voting block.  It also carves out a new district in the Lemon Grove/Spring Valley area with no trustee currently residing in that district, which does have a history of representing people of color.

ALPINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION AGREES TO FUND INDEPENDENT EMF STUDIES

 

Superintendent issues correction: EPA has not issued recommended EMF safe levels.

Meetings Feb. 23 and 25  will address EMF issues in Alpine.

By Miriam Raftery

February 20, 2016 (Alpine)—The Alpine Education Foundation has agreed to fund hiring a professional independent expert to measure electromagnetic frequency (EMF) readings along the route of the buried Sunrise Powerlink in Alpine, AEF president George Barnett has informed East County Magazine.

READER’S EDITORIAL: BROWN ACT REQUIREMENTS AND TIME LIMITS ON SPEAKING

 

 

An open letter to the Grossmont Union High School District Board regarding its ban on any public citizen speaking over 3 minutes total for all agenda items combined

By Nick Marinovich, former member, Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for the Grossmont Union High School District

February 20, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- As a Citizen who actively participates in the governance process, I have indicated at several board meetings my frustration with not being able to adequately make my points when there is a three minute total time any one Citizen can speak at a regular board meeting. Government Code Section 54954.3 states:

(a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body’s consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body, provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 54954.2.

 (b) The legislative body of a local agency may adopt reasonable regulations to ensure that the intent of subdivision (a) is carried out, including, but not limited to, regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public testimony on particular issues and for each individual speaker.

 (c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body. Nothing in this subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.

COMMUNITY FORUM TO DISCUSS ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS FROM SDG&E UNDERGROUND TRANSMISSION LINES – FEB. 23 IN ALPINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

February 20, 2016 (Alpine) – A community forum to discuss electromagnetic fields from SDG&E’s underground transmission lines will be held on Tuesday, February 23 at 6 p.m. in the Alpine Elementary auditorium (1850 Alpine Blvd.)  You’re invited to join the Alpine Union School District, Supervisor Dianne Jacob and members of her administration for this informal discussion.

GUHSD TO HOST COMMUNITY FORUM ON MARCH 1 SEEKING INPUT ON SELECTION OF NEXT SUPERINTENDENT

 

GUHSD Superintendent Ralf Swenson to retire on July 1, 2016

Source:  Grossmont Union High School District

February 19, 2016 (El Cajon) – GUHSD Superintendent Ralf Swenson will retire on July 1, 2016. The Governing Board of the Grossmont Union High School District has selected Dr. William E. Diedrich and Dr. John L. Roach of Dave Long & Associates Executive Search Services, as its advisers to assist the Board in its search for a new superintendent.

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